Spain women’s team coach Jorge Vilda fired amid Rubiales kiss fallout

Vilda fired less than three weeks after his team won the Women’s World Cup and amid a scandal involving the conduct of suspended football federation president Luis Rubiales.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has sacked Jorge Vilda, the coach of its Women’s World Cup-winning women’s team, the RFEF said, 10 days after FIFA suspended the federation’s president for kissing national team player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth.

A new board formed after the suspension of RFEF President Luis Rubiales by football world governing body FIFA over the allegedly nonconsensual kiss during World Cup victory celebrations two weeks ago has terminated Vilda’s contract, the federation said on Tuesday.

In a statement that did not mention Hermoso, Rubiales or the scandal, the RFEF thanked 42-year-old Vilda for his “extraordinary sporting legacy”.

“The coach has been key to the remarkable growth of women’s football and leaves Spain as world champions and second in the FIFA rankings,” the RFEF statement said.

The scandal involving Rubiales has spiralled into a national debate over women’s rights and sexist behaviour.

Considered a close ally of Rubiales, Vilda had been under fire since last year after 15 players staged a mutiny calling for his resignation because of what they said were inadequate coaching methods and conditions.

Most of the players involved were cut from the squad even as some demands were met.

Danae Boronat, a sports presenter who interviewed Spain’s leading female players for her book Don’t Call Them Girls, Call Them Footballers, said players accused Vilda of micromanaging, such as instructing senior players what to say in interviews.

Vilda and Luis de la Fuente, the men’s national team manager, applauded Rubiales when he refused to resign on August 25 but later issued statements condemning his behaviour.

The captains of Spain’s men’s national team on Monday condemned Rubiales’s “unacceptable behaviour” in a show of support for the Women’s World Cup-winning team.

The 46-year-old has been provisionally barred from all football activity for an initial 90 days by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) while it investigates his conduct.

Meanwhile, the president currently in charge of the Spanish football federation during Rubiales’s suspension, Pedro Rocha, released a letter on Tuesday apologising for Rubiales’s behaviour.

Rocha said the federation had the responsibility to ask for “the most sincere apologies to the football world as a whole,” as well as to football institutions, fans, players – especially of the women’s national team – “for the totally unacceptable behaviour of its highest representative”.

“In no way does his behaviour represent the values of Spanish society as a whole, its institutions, its representatives, its athletes and the Spanish sports leaders”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies